Speaking on the latest episode of podcast The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, released on Tuesday 14 March, the author said that she had been aware of the backlash she might receive from fans of her work over her views on gender and trans rights.
“When I first became interested in, and then deeply troubled by, what I saw as a cultural movement that was illiberal in its methods and questionable in its ideas, I absolutely knew that if I spoke out, many people who love my books would be deeply unhappy with me,” she said.
“I knew that, because I could see that they believed that they were living the values I had espoused in those books. I could tell that they believed that they were fighting for underdogs and difference and fairness. And I thought it would be easier not to.
“I knew that this could be really bad and it has been bad personally, it has not been fun, and I have been scared at times for my safety and, overwhelmingly, for my family’s safety.”
She continued: “Time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong. I can only say that I’ve thought about it deeply and hard and long and I’ve listened, I promise, to the other side, and I believe, absolutely, that there is something dangerous about this movement and that it must be challenged.”
When asked what she would say to people who claim she’s become like the villains in her books, Rowling said: “I would say that some of you have not understood the books. The Death Eaters claimed, ‘We have been made to live in secret, and now is our time, and any who stand in our way must be destroyed. If you disagree with us, you must die.’ They demonised and dehumanised those who were not like them.
“I am fighting what I see as a powerful, insidious, misogynistic movement, that has gained huge purchase in very influential areas of society.
“I do not see this particular movement as either benign or powerless, so I’m afraid I stand with the women who are fighting to be heard against threats of loss of livelihood and threats to their safety.”